Sunday's 162nd Queen's Plate brought a tremendous day of racing at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of $16,122,170 was wagered on the 13-race card, including the $3,491,564 on the Queen's Plate race itself. The Queen's Plate is the first leg of the OLG Canadian Triple Crown. The other two are the Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeder's Stakes.
The total handle was second only to the 2019 event, where the track generated $18,005,973, soundly beating the 2020 handle of $14,532,678. According to Woodbine, all sources reported a handle up 11% from 2020.
"This year's Queen's Plate brought the energy of our great sport back in full-force to Woodbine with an outstanding crowd and thrilling racing," said Jim Lawson. "It's evident that this excitement was felt across North America and we're elated to see the support this great day of racing received as part of the continued growth of the Woodbine brand."
Lawson continued: "On behalf of Woodbine, a sincere thank you to our staff, partners, horse racing community, horseplayers and fans for adding to the storied history of The Queen's Plate." (Woodbine)
The $1,000,000 Queen's Plate Stakes was won by SAFE CONDUCT, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., trained by Philip Serpe, and owned by WellSpring Stables.
Breaking from the rail, and sent off at odds of 3-1, SAFE CONDUCT was away well and tucked behind 28-1 pacesetter TAKE A CHANCE, through opening fractions of 24.01 and 48.37. They raced strung out through the backside, about 15 lengths covering the field front to back.
As they turn for home, Irad Ortiz has a clear shot at the leader and pushes the button on SAFE CONDUCT. They strike the lead at the top of the stretch, but have to hold off an onslaught of challengers. Furthest to their outside is RIPTIDE ROCK, absolutely flying down the center of the track. But the wire came soon enough; SAFE CONDUCT and Irad Ortiz Jr. held on to win by a head. RIPTIDE ROCK settled for second second, H C HOLIDAY got up for third. The final time for the one mile and one-quarter was 2:02.85.
"That was very close," said winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who scored his first Queen's Plate.
"I just saw somebody flying outside and I didn't know if I won the race under the wire." (America's Best Racing)
SAFE CONDUCT paid $8.00 to win, $5.10 to place, and $4.20 to show. He is by BODEMEISTER out of DUCHESS DANCER by CONGRATS. He achieves his third career victory, pushes his earnings to $603,202 and ties his highest speed figure to date.
Source: Woodbine, Equibase, BloodHorse, America's Best Racing